Lessons from my daughter’s room

This post should really be titled “What I learned while cleaning out my newly-married daughter’s room so I could turn it into an art studio while she was on her honeymoon.”  But that’s just too long a title, don’t you think?  Anyway, here they are:

1.  If you save every item put into your hands for your entire childhood and stash it in your room, the items are no longer sentimental.  They are junk, and they are easy to clean out without shedding even one tear.

2. Don’t jump to conclusions.  The bowl of fossilized applesauce in the closet was actually fossilized DIY sugar wax.  Which is better, but still fossilized.

3.  Plastic cottage cheese containers, when tied together with twine and strung from the ceiling, make pretty awesome storage bins.  My daughter is the repurposing queen!

4.  Those little sticky foam things that come with cork boards to stick them to walls, the ones that say “permanent; may cause damage if removed”… they aren’t lying. They are now painted peach, and I will decide where to hang things based on their location, because they’re not going down without taking the drywall with them.

5.  To answer all the “How are you doing having a married daughter?” inquiries, I think cleaning out her room is telling me I’m okay.  She’s so happy, and he’s so awesome for her, that it’s good.  God really does prepare us for everything in our lives, and I knew this one was coming.  From the moment I delivered them, I knew they weren’t mine, and that’s okay.  Yes, I worry over them too much, but I also don’t mind seeing them grow up and be who they are supposed to be.

6.  Anyone who wants to see these two stay married might want to offer the occasional gift certificate for a housekeeper.  Or cheap rent for an art studio.  My daughter isn’t really sloppy; she just keeps millions of odds and ends for creative purposes.  But they build up faster than the creating can happen.  (Okay, maybe she’s a little bit sloppy; see number 2 above.)  That ability to see the world through the eyes of “How can I make this better, make it mine, make it sing?” is one of the best things about her, until one is cleaning out her room.

7. Non-drowsy twenty-four hour antihistimine doesn’t really last twenty-four hours, but it works well for quite some time and really is non-drowsy.  Hey, regardless of how awesome my daughter’s creativity might be, it still attracts a whole lot of dust.

8.  When one boxes up another person’s life, one cannot in good conscience throw things away.  I suspect she will hate me for years for all the boxed junk she gets to sift through upon her return.  But then she might rethink number one above.

9. Turning my daughter’s room into an art studio helps me cope.  It helps to focus on new beginnings.  Right now she’s on vacation focusing on her new beginning, and I’m proud of her and happy for her.  So, I will wade through dust and parenting memories to make my own new beginnings.

I have three boys at home, ages 11-21, so it’s not like I’m done being a parent or a home school teacher, but I’m done raising a daughter.  She will be back–for one thing, her car is in our drive–but she will be back different.  I won’t be as much a parent as a counselor, someone to chat with.  She’ll come see me because she wants to see me, not because I happen to be in the kitchen.  And if she doesn’t come back often, it means I’ve equipped her with the things she needs to be an adult, and she’s cleaving to her husband, and those are good things.

When she gets back, she won’t recognize her room, even though it’s been her hideaway for the past decade.  She may miss it, or she may not, but I hope she sees it as my way of saying “I understand.  This change is permanent, and it’s good, and I am happy about it.  Go and do amazing things in your new life with your new man.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have a wii and she doesn’t, and a game she and hubby and her brothers want to play is coming out in a few months.  So, I know she’ll be stopping in from time to time.  Hey, I’m still a mom, and we play whatever cards we have, you know?

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